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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

SOUTH    A GAIN

CHAPTER XVI                                              SOUTH AGAIN
I BEGAN to pack my things and think about the
South of France.   The Pole saw me off at the station.
I arriied myself with a bottle of red wine.   The train
was full and the only seat I could find (I travelled,
of course, third class), was in a carriage filled with
French sailors-    In the corner was a very small
ginger-haired  French  soldier.    I sat down  in  a
corner.   The sailors opened their bottles and offered
me some wine.   We then all drank together.   They
were all Bretons and we talked about Brittany.
Next to me was a very good-looking, golden-haired
sailor, who got very drunk, and, after making an
unsuccessful attempt to kiss me, fell asleep with his
head on my lap.    I felt slightly embarrassed but
thought it better to remain still, hoping that even-
tually he would become conscious and that I could
change my position.   The other sailors and the little
soldier were already asleep and I lay my head
against the window and slept too.   About five in the
morning I woke up and from the opposite corner of
the carriage the soldier spoke to me in the most
perfect" Oxford English.5'   I thought, " Good God!
He probably knows all kinds of people that I do and
here am I with a sailor asleep with his head on my
lap."   I asked him why he spoke English and he told
me that he had been brought up in England and
that his Father was a Frenchman, and he, being a
French subject, had to do his Service Militaire.   He
had been in Egypt before in some kind of political job